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  • 1. All About Stock Options

    My goal is to give you a basic understanding of what stock options are all about without hopelessly confusing you with unnecessary details. I have read dozens of books on stock options, and even my eyes start glazing over shortly into most of them.

  • 2. Check Out Auto-Trade

    Auto-Trade is a service offered by several on-line brokers. Auto-Trade makes it possible for an investor to carry out an options strategy in his own account without becoming an options guru or making all the trades on his or her own.

  • 3. Never Buy a Mutual Fund

    Never buy a mutual fund unless it is a no-load index fund with the lowest cost structure. (I will tell you where to find it later.)

  • 4. Turbocharge Your IRA

    Most smart people have set up a Roth IRA, 401(k), or other qualified retirement program. For some of them, it may be the only stock market investment they own.

  • 5. Double Your Money the Lazy Way

    In spite of the odds against winning, many people seem to like to invest in individual stocks – sort of like picking horses at the race track.

  • 6. The 10K Strategy

    The 10K Strategy is my favorite investment strategy. I have used it to make an average of over 50% a year for three out of four consecutive years. I have now added a twist to the strategy so that annual returns might be less than those years but there should be a much higher likelihood of its succeeding.

  • 7. Trading ETF Options

    Exchange-Traded Funds, or ETFs, are index funds that trade just like stocks on major stock exchanges. All the major stock indexes have ETFs based on them, including: Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA), Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq 100 Composite (QQQQ).

  • 8. Other Stock Option Resources

    Learn about some of my favorite stock option resources.

Elevator Pitch Story of Terry’s Tips

Terry Allen started the Terry’s Tips in 2001 as an educational newsletter  where various options strategies were tested in real time with real dollars. As many as eight portfolios were simultaneously carried out, each one in a separate brokerage account and paying full commissions. Subscribers saw every trade in every portfolio, and could follow one or more of the strategies in their own accounts, either on their own or through an auto-trade service offered by several brokers where all the portfolio trades were duplicated in their own accounts.

Over the years, many of these strategies enjoyed consistent gains for long stretches of time, only to see them all disappear in one disastrous day or week.  One strategy, however, seemed to out-perform all the other strategies over the long run.  We had dubbed it the 10K Strategy (because it was neither a sprint or a marathon, but something in between).

For the past five years ending through 2021, the 10K Strategy has notched average annual gains of over 60% in our actual portfolios after paying all the commissions.

For the first five months of 2022, extreme volatility came along (something that this strategy does not like), and we lowered our risk by retaining about half our portfolios in cash.  The market was down badly (S&P 500 off over 18%, the Nasdaq down 22%) but the composite 10K Strategy portfolios gained over 10% over these five months. This works out to a 20%+ gain based our amount at risk.

The 10K Strategy is sort of like writing calls, but on steroids.  Instead of buying stock and selling calls against your shares, we buy longer-term options (both puts and calls) which decay at a much slower rate than the shorter-term (usually weekly) options that we sell.  Since these longer-term options cost a fraction of what the stock would cost, the potential return on investment is considerably higher with this options strategy.

The key to the strategy is the difference between the decay rates of the long and short options.  The major challenge is managing risk by selecting strike prices both above and below the stock price, and balancing the risk profile of the positions on a daily basis.

Unlike owning stock, longer-term options are deteriorating assets, just like the shorter-term options that we sell.  Maintaining a comfortable risk profile requires nimble trading and balancing the positions essentially every working day or week. 

In short, it takes a lot of work. For this reason, most Terry’s Tips subscribers choose to select one or more of our portfolios (most based on ETF underlyings such as SPY, IWM, QQQ) and sign up for an auto-trade service to have all these trades automatically be made in their accounts. 

A broker you have probably not heard of, Tradier, coupled with a Toronto-based broker called Global AutoTrade, performs this auto-trade service for a flat commission fee of only $10 per month for our subscribers, saving them hundreds if not thousands of commission dollars each year.

Who is Terry Allen? Terry earned his MBA at the Harvard Business School and eleven years later, completed all the requirements except the dissertation for a Doctorate in Business Administration at the University of Virginia. As part of his academic work, he created a statistical model which calculated the theoretical value of any option based on several measurable variables.  The options market was just getting established, and option prices were extremely inefficient (either too-high or too-low).   

At this point, he dropped out of school and got a seat on the Chicago Board of Options and traded as a market maker on the floor of the exchange. His model enabled him to make extraordinary gains for several months until two professors at the University of Chicago published a similar model (only one variable not in Terry’s model).  This model, called the Black-Scholes model, (later to earn these professors a Nobel Prize), gave every trader the same advantage that Terry had enjoyed, and his extraordinary earnings were whittled away.

He returned to Virginia to complete his Doctorate, but was hopelessly addicted to options trading which he has continued to do virtually every day the market has been open ever since.  Options trading has been quite profitable for him, and enabled him to give away millions of dollars to charitable causes in his home state of Vermont, including building a large outdoor swimming pool for the Burlington Boys and Girls Club and giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship aid to first-in-family college students at Champlain College where he served as a trustee for eleven years.

For nearly two decades, Terry has carried out personally or managed the portfolio trades of the Terry’s Tips portfolios.  In 2019, he brought in another (younger) experienced trader to manage these portfolios using the 10K Strategy, and the recent successful results are largely due to the efforts of his associate who totally understands the trading rules developed over the years at Terry’s Tips.

How to carry out the 10K Strategy: We have published a White Paper which spells out the precise Trading Rules for carrying out the 10K Strategy.  This White Paper is delivered to each new Terry’s Tips subscriber at the outset of his or her subscription.  Many subscribers sign up for a single month and learn all these Trading Rules, and watch the portfolios evolve each week for a month.  Then they cancel and carry it out on their own using an underlying that they like (any stock or ETF which trades options can be used as an underlying security).  That is fine with us.

Other subscribers realize the volume of effort involved in carrying out this strategy, and they continue on with us (often for many years) using an auto-trade service provided by some brokers, including Tradier.  This is even finer with us.

TERRY’S TIPS STOCK OPTIONS TRADING BLOG

January 31, 2024

January 31, 2024

Dear [[firstname]],

Here’s your Option Trade of the Week as included in this past weekend’s Saturday Report for our Terry’s Tips Premium Members.The credit from last week’s trade ran away from us pretty quickly, so I opted to pass on sending it out knowing that you wouldn’t get the minimum credit. This week’s trade – which gets us back on a bullish track – has a better chance for entry. So, I’m hoping that you can make it work.

Before that, though, I have to tell you that our Microsoft (MSFT) portfolio – we call it Wiley Wolfis on fire. With January in the books, we are already up more than 22% while the stock itself is up less than 6%. In fact, we booked more than half that huge gain just today after MSFT’s earnings!

How did we do it? The same way we bagged 70% and 92% profits using MSFT and QQQ last year – Dr. Terry Allen’s 10K Strategy. This market-beating strategy has proven itself over the past two decades … and this year looks to be no exception.

You can’t afford to miss out on these profits. Resolve to make 2024 your best trading year ever – and learn about Terry’s unique strategy – by becoming a Premium Member of Terry’s Tips.

For our loyal newsletter subscribers (that’s you), I’m of course keeping the sale going that saves you more than 50% on a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips. Plus, I’m adding a promise that this rate will never increase. I won’t make this promise forever, though, so now is the time to get in on the action … and profits.

As a Premium Member to Terry’s Tips, you’ll get …

  • A month of all trade alerts in our four portfolios, giving detailed instructions for entering and exiting positions. Trade one portfolio (I recommend Wiley Wolf) or all four. It’s up to you.
  • Four to five (depending on the month) weekly issues of our Saturday Report, which shows all the trades and positions for our four portfolios, a discussion of the week’s trading activity and early access to our Option Trade of the Week.
  • Instructions on how to execute the 10K Strategy on your own.
  • Access to our autobrokers to make trades on your behalf.
  • A 14-day options tutorial on the opportunities and risks of trading options.
  • Our updated 10K Strategy white paper, a thorough discussion of the strategy basics and tactics.
  • Full-member access to all our premium special reports that can make you a wiser and more profitable options trader. 
  • Annual subscription available for more than 50% savings

And, for a limited time, I am including a Special Bonus. Terry Allen has condensed his 30 years of options trading experience into an eBook – Making 36% – A Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, in Good Years and Bad. Learn a different way to trade using Terry’s unique and decades-tested 10K Strategy. This book is normally $9.98 on our website (and $19.95 on Amazon), but I will personally send you the digital version for free with a paid subscription.

To become a Terry’s Tips Premium Member, just Click Here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off. You can cancel after a month but, of course, keep all the valuable reports and the book.

I look forward to having you join in the fun and profits! Now on to the trade …

It’s Intuitive

Lots to chew on this week with earnings season in full swing, so let’s dive right in with a bullish trade on Intuitive Surgical (ISRG). The company makes surgical instruments, notably the da Vinci robot, that emphasize minimal invasiveness. ISRG reported Tuesday after the bell, easily beating on the top (profit) and bottom (revenue) lines. Earnings per share increased 30% from a year earlier, while revenues improved more than 16%. Much of this growth came from a 21% increase in da Vinci procedures.

Analysts were quick to raise their target prices, with at least a half dozen trying to beat each other to the punch. These were not minor increases, either. One firm raised its target by 35%, while several others were around 15%. That equates to increases of $30 to more than $100 … not bad for a $375 stock. Oddly, there were no rating increases, keeping ISRG at a solid buy rating. However, there are few holds on the stock, leaving some room for upgrades.

Also odd is the fact that the stock fell as much as 3.4% on Wednesday, though it closed just 0.4% lower. That’s the smallest move after earnings in more than 11 years. There wasn’t much action after that, as ISRG gained about a percent on Thursday and Friday. The stock reaction might give one pause given the strong earnings results. However, the muted move makes more sense since the company already released bullish guidance numbers a couple of weeks ago. That caused the shares to pop more than 10%, making this week’s news less impactful.

The guidance surge pulled the stock away from its 20-day moving average, a trendline that has guided a 47% rally over the past three months. The shares spent a few days just below the 20-day in early January, the only time they were staring up at the trendline since crossing above it on November 1. We are therefore using the 20-day as the basis of this week’s bullish trade. The short put strike of our spread sits just below the 20-day, which is about 6% beneath Friday’s close.

If you agree that the stock will continue trading above, or at least near, the 20-day moving average (blue line), consider the following credit spread trade that relies on ISRG staying above $350 (red line) through expiration in 7 weeks:

Buy to Open the ISRG 15 Mar 345 put (ISRG240315P345)
Sell to Open the ISRG 15 Mar 350 put (ISRG240315P350) for a credit of $1.00 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.10 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $374.76 close.   Unless ISRG surges sharply at the open on Monday, you should be able to get close to that price.

The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $98.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500, making your net investment $401.30 per spread ($500 – $98.70). If ISRG closes above $350 on Mar 15, the options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 25% ($98.70/$401.30).

Testimonial

It is often said that options are to stock trading as chess is to checkers. I was looking to find the chess master amongst the checker’s champs, and Terry is the one. Looking for very smart yet understandable way to trade options? Look no further. ~ Phil Wells

Remember to click here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off. And get Terry’s eBook for free.

Any questions?  Email Jon@terrystips.com. Thank you again for being a part of the
Terry’s Tips newsletter.

January 17, 2024

January 17, 2024

Dear [[firstname]],

It may be a little late, but Happy New Year! I haven’t sent an issue for a while because the credits for our weekly trades weren’t close enough to my target entry prices. As you know, I will not send an issue with a trade you have no chance of entering. This week, however, the credit is higher than when I sent the trade to our premium subscribers, meaning your maximum profit is now greater.

This is my first chance to tell you about the amazing profits we racked up last year. Our QQQ portfolio gained more than 90% for the year, while our MSFT portfolio brought in 70%. We’re on some kind of roll with MSFT, averaging gains of more than 100% over the past 5 years. And 2024 has started the same way … in the profit column.

You can’t afford to miss out on these profits. Resolve to make 2024 your best trading year ever with a subscription to Terry’s Tips.

For our loyal newsletter subscribers (that’s you), I’m of course keeping the sale going that saves you more than 50% on a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips. Plus, I’m adding a promise that this rate will never increase. I won’t make this promise forever, though, so now is the time to get in on the action … and profits.

As a Premium Member to Terry’s Tips, you’ll get …

  • A month of all trade alerts in our four portfolios, giving detailed instructions for entering and exiting positions. Trade one portfolio or all four. It’s up to you.
  • Four to five (depending on the month) weekly issues of our Saturday Report, which shows all the trades and positions for our four portfolios, a discussion of the week’s trading activity and early access to our Option Trade of the Week.
  • Instructions on how to execute the 10K Strategy on your own.
  • A 14-day options tutorial on the opportunities and risks of trading options.
  • Our updated 10K Strategy white paper, a thorough discussion of the strategy basics and tactics.
  • Full-member access to all our premium special reports that can make you a wiser and more profitable options trader. 

And for a limited time, I am including a Special Bonus. Terry Allen has condensed his 30 years of options trading experience into an eBook – Making 36% – A Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, in Good Years and Bad.” Learn a different way to trade using Terry’s unique and decades-tested 10K Strategy. This book is normally $9.98 on our website (and $19.95 on Amazon), but I will personally send you the digital version for free with a paid subscription.  

To become a Terry’s Tips Premium Member, just Click Here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off. You can cancel after a month but, of course, keep all the valuable reports and the book.

I look forward to having you join in the fun and profits! Now on to the trade …

United We Fall

Earnings season started this week, though the number of reports was limited. Big banks dominated the headlines, but I didn’t see anything tradeable there. And I was looking for a bearish play to diversify a portfolio that will be all put spreads after this coming Friday.

So, I went with a company that’s bigger – by market cap – than any bank: UnitedHealth Group (UNH). The company reported on Friday, beating expectations for both revenue and income. But a key metric – the medical cost ratio – came in well above estimates. And that proved to be UNH’s undoing, as the stock slumped 3.4% on Friday.

UNH has a half-trillion-dollar market cap, so it gets a lot of analyst coverage. But oddly, there wasn’t a peep from the analyst community on Friday –  no ratings changes and no target price moves. Perhaps they were mulling over their overly bullish stance toward the stock.

According to Yahoo! Finance, all 22 rating analysts consider UNH a buy or strong buy. The average target price is around $600, which is 15% above Friday’s close and 7% above the stock’s all-time high, set in October 2022. And it’s not like UNH set the world on fire in 2023. In fact, the stock closed the year a few bucks lower. Maybe we’ll start seeing some analysts ease back on the throttle and temper their targets and ratings, which could put some pressure on the stock.

The price drop on Friday pulled the shares below both their 20-day and 50-day moving averages. For the technical purists, the 20-day (blue line) bearishly crossed below the 50-day (red line) at the end of last year.

I’ve also noted an interesting pattern with UNH. Whatever the stock does the day after earnings tends to be the path for the next several weeks. After the past two earnings reports, the stock gained after earnings and continued to be higher through the subsequent five weeks. The two quarters before that, it was the opposite story – lower the day after earnings and five weeks after earnings. So, if history holds, UNH may find some rough sledding for the next few weeks. Plus, it will have to overcome its short-term moving averages, which are both headed lower.

This week’s bearish call spread has a short strike at the 540 level, which is above both the 20-day and 50-day moving averages. It also sits in an area where the stock has struggled to consistently stay above. Note that this is a 10-point spread because that is the strike increment in the 16Feb series. We’re going with the monthly series because UNH’s weekly options have poorer liquidity. Thus, these spreads will require more buying power, as noted below.

If you agree that the stock will continue to struggle after its earnings slump, consider the following credit spread trade that relies on UNH staying below $540 (green line) through expiration in 5 weeks:

Buy to Open the UNH 16 Feb 550 call (UNH240216C550)
Sell to Open the UNH 16 Feb 540 call (UNH240216C540)

for a credit of $2.20 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.10 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $521.51 close.   Unless UNH falls sharply at the open on Tuesday, you should be able to get close to that price.

The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $218.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $1,000, making your net investment $781.30 per spread ($1,000 – $218.70). If UNH closes below $540 on Feb 16, the options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 8% ($218.70/$781.30).

Testimonial of the Week

I have been a subscriber for about a year. I autotrade in 2 different accounts, all your strategies. I read everything you write on Saturdays. I love your happiness thoughts and everything else. I usually do not communicate at all but I had to tell you how well my accounts with you are doing compared to everything else. You are awesome. Keep up the good work. Thank you. – Maya

Remember to click here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off. And get Terry’s eBook for free.

Any questions?  Email Jon@terrystips.com. Thank you again for being a part of the Terry’s Tips newsletter.

Happy trading,

Jon L

December 13, 2023

December 13, 2023

Dear [[firstname]],

I haven’t written for a while because the credits weren’t close enough to my target entry prices. This week, however, the credit is higher than when I sent the trade to our premium subscribers, meaning your maximum profit is now greater.

Before I get to the trade, I want to let you know that we’re winding up another solid year for our Terry’s Tips portfolios. Our QQQ portfolio is up more than 70% for the year, while our MSFT portfolio is up more than 55%.

You can’t afford to miss out on these profits in 2024. Treat yourself to an early holiday gift with a subscription to Terry’s Tips. For our loyal newsletter subscribers (that’s you), I’m of course keeping the sale going that saves you more than 50% on a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips.

You’ll get

  • A month of all trade alerts in our four portfolios, giving detailed instructions for entering and exiting positions. Trade one portfolio or all four. It’s up to you.
  • Four to five (depending on the month) weekly issues of our Saturday Report, which shows all the trades and positions for our four portfolios, a discussion of the week’s trading activity and early access to our Option Trade of the Week.
  • Instructions on how to execute the 10K Strategy on your own.
  • A 14-day options tutorial on the opportunities and risks of trading options.
  • Our updated 10K Strategy white paper, a thorough discussion of the strategy basics and tactics.
  • Full-member access to all our premium special reports that can make you a wiser and more profitable options trader. 

To become a Terry’s Tips Insider Member, just Click Here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off. You can cancel after a month but, of course, keep all the valuable reports.

I look forward to having you join in the fun and profits! Now on to the trade …

Cloudy Outlook

Sorry for the lousy title. I couldn’t come up with anything clever for today’s stock, which, quite frankly, I’ve never heard of. That’s OK, though, because I know little to nothing about cloud-based software for the health sciences, which is what Veeva Systems (VEEV) provides. I don’t really care about what a company does, or if I’ve ever heard of them. I do know that the stock has liquid options with ample open interest and reasonably narrow bid/ask spreads, which is a must for our trades.

I also know that VEEV reported earnings after the close on Wednesday. The company slightly beat both the profit and revenue forecasts but pulled back revenue guidance for the coming quarter. It’s worth noting that a month ago, VEEV plunged nearly 15% after lowering revenue guidance on lower-than-expected services sales.

The earnings news apparently spooked the market, which drove VEEV more than 7% lower on Thursday before the stock recovered to close down 3%. Analysts also were edgy, as evidenced by a few price target reductions (there was one increase). But the consensus target price remains more than 20% above Friday’s close, which seems overly optimistic. Analysts are also firmly in the “buy” camp for VEEV, which also seems misplaced for a stock that has underperformed the market this year.

On the charts, VEEV has made little progress after the November plunge. In fact, the shares are down 23% from their 2023 high hit in September. This slide has been efficiently guided by the 20-day moving average, which has allowed only a handful of closes above it since mid-October. The technical level I’m watching is 180, a point of staunch resistance the stock has failed to close above since the November plummet. That is also the sight of the short call strike of our credit spread. Note that the 20-day sits between 180 and the current stock price, adding another layer of resistance.

If you agree that the stock will continue to respect the monthlong resistance level and stick close to its 20-day moving average (blue line), consider the following credit spread trade that relies on VEEV staying below $180 (red line) through expiration in 6 weeks:

Buy to Open the VEEV 19 Jan 185 call (VEEV240119C185)
Sell to Open the VEEV 19 Jan 180 call (VEEV240119C180) for a credit of $1.25 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.12 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $172.71 close.   Unless VEEV falls sharply at the open on Monday, you should be able to get close to that price.

The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $123.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500, making your net investment $376.30 per spread ($500 – $123.70). If VEEV closes below $180 on Jan 19, the options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 33% ($123.70/$376.30).

Testimonial of the Week

It is often said that options are to stock trading as chess is to checkers. I was looking to find the chess master amongst the checker’s champs, and Terry is the one. Looking for very smart yet understandable way to trade options? Look no further. ~ Phil Wells

Remember to click here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off.

Any questions?  Email Jon@terrystips.com. Thank you again for being a part of the Terry’s Tips newsletter.

Happy trading,

Jon

Making 36%

Making 36% – A Duffer's Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year in Good Years and Bad

This digital book may not improve your golf game, but it might change your financial situation so that you will have more time for the greens and fairways (and sometimes the woods).

Learn why Dr. Allen believes that the 10K Strategy is less risky than owning stocks or mutual funds, and why it is especially appropriate for your IRA.

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